Tue | Jul 27, 2021

Eyes peeled for Lisa as PNP elects gen sec, chairman

Published:Sunday | November 29, 2020 | 12:15 AMErica Virtue - Senior Gleaner Writer

The People’s National Party (PNP) will today elect a general secretary to succeed Julian Robinson and a chairman to take up the mantle from Fitz Jackson in a second round of high-level internal elections this month.

On November 7, delegates elected Mark Golding as president of the 82-year-old party and today, the National Executive Council (NEC) will cast votes at Jamaica College to fill the two posts.

Golding will be hoping for Dr Angela Brown Burke to come out as chairman and Dr Dayton Campbell as general secretary.

Brown Burke faces off with Phillip Paulwell for the position and Campbell is up against Raymond Pryce and Jennifer Housen.

Campbell and Brown Burke expressed confidence in getting the nod in recent interviews, while Paulwell assessed his chances as 50-50.

But even as eyes are trained on the elections, several party officials polled last week said they will be looking for the losing presidential candidate, Lisa Hanna.

“If Lisa does not turn up at the NEC meeting today, her intention is clear. Nobody likes to lose, but you can’t have two presidents. And even if there was a tie, it would have to be done again,” a backer for Hanna’s presidential bid said last week. “This is somebody who lived on social media and she has just gone missing so.”

“Lisa has plotted the same graph as Dr Peter Phillips did politically when he lost the 2008 challenge. He and his team of ‘divisionists’ disengaged from the political process,” said a senior Comrade.

On the day of the presidential election, Hanna had told The Sunday Gleaner that it would not be easy for anyone who assumed the leadership of the party, but she would accept an outstretched hand.

Deeply divided after years of leadership challenges at the presidential and vice-presidential levels, Comrades have been using social media to spew vitriol against each other.

“Jamaicans have always seen how I have operated in adversity. Even when I lost at the vice-presidential level, I never stopped working for the party. I never left and I never turned my back. It’s about the people, and not about a position. I believe in the people of Jamaica, and for the time I have left with breath and some youth and energy, I want to be able to work with the PNP to deliver some of those policies that are so crucial and so critical,” she had said.

“So if a hand is stretched, I would hope that Mark sees it as a working relationship. Truth is, no man is an island and people are moving away from insularity and unilateral behaviour. They want relatability. They want assimilation and it’s a time to press the reset button on that kind of value system.”

Hanna had said that a loss for her would demand introspection.

“Anything that happens today (November 7) would cause one to look at their future, however. Anything that happens today is a new beginning for the PNP either way,” she said.

Political watchers have said that while what the winner does was important, it is even more important what the loser does.

For his part, Golding, the eventual winner, had pointed out that healing the breach would take efforts from both sides.

erica.virtue@gleanerjm.com